San Francisco de Asis

There were many challenges he faced the Teatro Real with production Saint Francis of Assisi, only opera composer Oliver Messiaen. A monumental work, artistically and musically. An almost personal project of artistic director Gerard Mortier to, in his first season in charge of the Madrid Coliseum, He has had the determination and the courage to offer it for the first time in Madrid.
And the project was really risky. An orchestra formed by over 110 teachers; a chorus of 130 voices; dome 22 tons, 13 meters in diameter and 14 high with 14.000 fluorescent; all to accompany St. Francis of Assisi in his path of redemption on stage surrounding all the above items. A San Francisco accompanied on stage by only 6 Franciscan brothers more, a leper with leprosy in tow, and an angel.

curious, even stranger, be in a different enclosure and hear the usual welcome from the Royal Theater and the request-off with mobile phones. But when the music starts, it takes just a few minutes to forget where we are (and the annoying initial purr of air conditioning). And then when it makes an appearance a transcendental music, that unfolds, senses working at different levels and directions, pulling you so do not ever ask how a child as missing. In this internal struggle of good and evil held the night of the premiere, those less permeable went to the beauty of this music (after the second act) and they were those that yielded the properties himnóticas containing this score.

Oliver Messiaen, deep Catholic, It took eight years to complete this composition. His little appreciation for theatricality, She led him to conceive a booklet with just eight characters and scenic development and evolution extremely slow. But that slowness, with sublime musical moments, as a viola solo in the second act, which definitely favor the spirituality of work.

The great dome, that changes color in a barely perceptible transition, (perhaps because the majesty of music do anything to distract her, even the dome) presides over the scene as a symbol of eternity. An eternity to the Brother Francisco becomes often as desire or goal.
Despite the majesty of the dome, The setting is austere in its composition, only the catwalks surrounding the choir and orchestra dressed in dark. Cupulares changes colors accompanied the musical changes, Messiaen with the eagerness to grant a color to music.

The orchestra had before it a complex score in its interpretation that the expert knowledge of the musical director, Sylvain Cambreling, I knew directing and extract containing mysterious nuances. The ovation the audience gave her to him and the orchestra make clear the great work done that night. The use of instruments from different sources, especially Oriental, enriched the palette of sounds transcendent endowing exoticism.

The choir impressive, Choir composed of the head of the Royal Theater and the Choir of the Generalitat Valenciana, this work has a very strong presence Messiaen. It shone with own lights (candles lit them with an air of some mystery). The third act was his and had very high moments spiritually, how could it be otherwise.

The standing ovation of the night went to the angel, Swedish young soprano Camila Tilling. With a clear issue, one pulidísimo and extensive sound, ample and sonority, blue as the light that accompanied it in their speeches. With a portamento well supported. also say that the role of angel solo part has the most beautiful and lucimiento.

San Francisco, played by the Swiss baritone Alejandro Marco-Buhrmester, a few days before the premiere recognized the difficulty of the role, had a performance worthy. Although the work is theatrically poor, I could have done a little more effort to demonstrate the sensitivity required by this interpretation. It looked like a block of ice on stage. Reminding that is playing a St. Francis of Assisi at the time of his life more important and closer to God.
Highlight the involvement of the other characters. Wiard Witholt, as Brother Leo. Tom Randle, as Brother Masseo, which he introduced some rhythm scenic. Gerhard Siegel, brother Elias. Vladimir Kapshuk, brother Sylvestre. David Rubiera, Brother Rufino and deep voice Victor von Halem as Brother Bernardo. the leper, interpreted by Michael King, He was somewhat overreacted and histrionic within the general interpretative line.

The big cage full of pigeons which stood at one side of the stage, illustrating one of the most important aspects in the life of Francisco de Asis. Depth study of the singing of birds by Messiaen, who it was also an ornithologist, It is reflected in his music imitating and very beautiful songs achieved.

Evaluate the work of the entire team of the Royal Theater very pleasantly surprised that, while working on all productions that continued to take in the Theater, (which they are numerous) He has been able to organize and develop an impeccable job in a new enclosure, with a complex production in material and personnel, It has managed to create a cozy atmosphere, nice and full of fizz, giving detail all kinds of services to a capacity of more than four thousand people. Hence a summer opera festival in Madrid is a single step. Mortier dreamed his San Francisco in Madrid and here is. With your permission, I'll dream ...

Olivier Messiaen
Teatro Real, Madrid
6 of July, 2011-07-08
D. musical: Sylvain Cambreling
Coro head of the Theater and Choir of Valencia.
Theater Orchestra holder and SWR Baden-Baden Sinfonierorchester
Installation: Emilia y Ilya Kabanov
D. scene: Giuseppe Frigeni
Distribution: Camila Tilling; Marco-Buhrmester; Michael King; Wiard Witholt; Tom Randle;
Gerhard Siegel; Victor von Halem; Vladimir Kapshuk; David Rubiera.